Saturday, January 13, 2018

Snowmagedden a.k.a Friday and Saturday

We had quite the winter storm predicted, but as usual, the snow forgot how much my little ones would LOVE to play in it!  Instead the big news was all of the ice!  We had rain and then it quickly froze, so all of the trees, cars, everything are encrusted in ice.  It’s rather beautiful how the sun shines and sparkles in the ice.  And the sound – the sound of frozen trees being blown by wind – amazing!

My pictures don’t do this ice covered world justice.  (We got a little snow)

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Gotta keep busy or we go crazy!

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I thought Kai might enjoy walking through the snow, maybe even touching the snow.  We went outside, and he stomped around a bit.  But then that wind chill hit his face, and he was done!  No thank you!

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Daddy and his shoveling helper

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Joy’s snowy tree picture

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Joy and I shoveled the front walk

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Someone loves this cat!  They slept together part of the night

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Bella likes to get creative with her clothes!  Since she didn’t have to wear her school uniform, she chose her own outfit.  Reality is, that is only one of several outfits she wore all day.  She is my Diva!

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I am loving these Chinese spoons!

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School or no school, there must be snack time!  My two sweet boys!

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Friday morning Jason and I took Kai to the opthalmologist.  Dr Silvestros was so kind.  He filled out the forms about Kai’s blindness and wrote a letter recommending he be placed in the School for the Blind.  It’s all just part of the process to get Kai into school.  I thought I wanted to keep him home for a long time before he went to school, but not anymore. School = routine.  School = services.  Besides all of the blind services he will receive, he also qualifies for ESL!  Communication – how I love thee!  At 8 1/2 years old, we have some educational blanks.  It’s time to start approaching those.

In other news, this Mama got hit with a nasty bug on Friday.  Oh my goodness, I would have embraced death!  Between naps, I was reminding Jason where the wills were, where we keep the birth certificates, and the next bit of paperwork that we need to do for Kai. (dramatic much?)  So grateful my body obeyed the Mom code and I was only out for one day!  One day is too many when you have kiddos!  Not to mention, I can’t be around Becca or her family so we can protect little Bennett!  Icky sickness – go away!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

And the world keeps spinning

Life goes on.  The world keeps spinning.

Kai and today:  He discovered a new toy!  This baby doll cries when you press a button on its back.  He may not be able to see, but those thin fingers can find any button!IMG_1149

Food – continues to be a very picky eater!  Will eat apples and bananas all day long though!  Got some fried rice into him – yeah!

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Yes, I know this is a HORRIBLE picture of me – but what it represents is so dear to me!  We were sitting on the couch.  Me on my side, Kai on his.  He crawled over and into my lap.  We laughed and tickled.  We said crazy Chinese words.  I kissed him and held him like a baby.  He laid his head on me.  Precious!  So very, very dear to me!  We’ll make it Kai Kai!

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Kai now has three upcoming appointments: opthalmology (to fill out a paper for school – guess whay?  with no eyes, he can’t see!  yes, these things must be documented), oncology, and pediatrician.  I have also started the process that will get him into school.  Lots of forms and referrals – hoping it’ll all go smoothly.

I spent the morning at KSB where the ARC completed Alex’s three year re-evaluation and eligibility meeting.  We started before I left for China.  Three hours later we weren’t even near done, so we had to re-schedule.  Sweet guy just receives so many services, it takes a while to go through all of them!  I may be naive, but I felt like this meeting was so good, and how these meetings are supposed to go.  So many, many people (over 10) discussing where Alex is and how best to help him.  We added Autism to his eligibility criteria – Alex is technically multi: VI, autism, Other Health Impairment.  Lots to talk about.  Lots to share. New strategies suggested.  We, of course, had to discuss least restrictive environment.  Being at KSB, he is in the Most restricted environment, so would I like to discuss alternate placements? (They have to ask – there was no threat)  No, thanks.  He is in a good place.  I am so very, very grateful!

Since I was gone all morning, I couldn’t drive Jessi to school.  Lizzy was out sick today, and Sam wasn’t at work, so I had all three Bigs home!  It is fun to listen to them interacting and talking (especially Lizzy who has a cold and is medicated  :)  She was kinda loopy!  )

Sammi made us sushi

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Ellie and I supervised

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Lizzy made peanut butter balls

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I have to share this picture.  Blake took it without Becca knowing.  She is in heaven when she gets to hold her sweet boy.  She says he makes this adorable sound whenever she holds him.  The nurse teases him that he’s singing to his Mama.

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In other news, two more came home sick today from school.  We have got to clear these germs out of here before Bennett gets home!!

Monday, January 08, 2018

Ethan Bennett Ledford

We have a grandson!  Bennett was born this morning 1-8-18 (cool birthday!!) by c-section.  Becca’s water unexpectedly broke on Saturday.  Since she would need a NICU, they sent her by ambulance to University of Louisville Hospital.  It’s the best of the best for emergencies and trauma.  It the worst for lovely, calm, and serene births.  But at the end of everything, we have a living Mama and a living baby – and for that we are so very, very grateful!

Yes, I am purposely being vague cause it’s Bec’s story to tell, not mine.  Yes, I was there, breathing through contractions with her, watching her suffer, really not liking that we were stuck at a teaching hospital, but she was the one who made it for two and a half days of crazy pain to give her son a chance for his lungs to develop with the help of steroids.  It did make me question why I went through that five times :), until I saw that beautiful baby – then I remembered.  How I love my babies!!  (Especially since I think Bennett looks just like his Mama!)

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Ellie has been here!  Can you believe this is what a big sister looks like?

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Happiest birthday Bennett – we are so glad you are here and healthy! 

Welcome to the family – you are so loved!!

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Jessi’s Exciting New Adventure!

Jessi received an envelope in the mail on Saturday.

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On the envelope it says – Celebrate!  and then in parentheses, small font, (You’re in!)  This type of wit is so Jessi!  She loved it!  :)

So now my baby is a Future Colonel!

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Of course they followed up with an email!

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We had to apply for housing and start doing college-y things.  It’s getting real, as Jessi says!


Meanwhile, my heart is dying!!  There is going to be a gaping hole in my home when Jessi goes away to school (but NOT until Fall Semester).  She is my peacemaker.  My supreme cuddler.  My baby whisperer.  How will we live without you Jessi?

On the other hand, this sweet girl deserves a rich and wonderful life – which means she has to grow up – which means she can’t stay my amazing helper forever.  You are amazing, Jes!  You will do great things!  Love ya!

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Friday, January 05, 2018

How is Kai doing?

In six days, we will have had Kai for one month!  One month – I can’t believe it – at all!!!

So how is he doing?  Well, we had kinda found a routine in China.  His favorite times were when we would go upstairs to eat – “Eat!”  We had a song we sang each time.  We were doing OK.  Then we came home and of course everything changed – again – for poor Kai.

Now Kai has many sisters and one brother.  He has figured out that we take a bath every day – and he LOVES the water!  He loves to splash and pour water in and out of cups.  He just grins and giggles.  It’s adorable!!

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When we put him to bed, Baba tickles him.  He loves that!  He giggles and laughs!

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We are listening to A LOT of Chinese cartoons!  He loves to hear Mandarin!  When a person speaks to him in Mandarin, he will get very quiet.  When it’s his show, he laughs and repeats phrases – sometimes quite loudly!

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During the day, when we are just being, he sits on the couch.  I guess he feels safe there.  I keep a bucket of toys within arm’s reach.  One of the items in the bucket is a book.  I can now tell you that he does know how to turn pages, but finding the braille on the pages seemed to be a first!

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One area we are really struggling in is eating.  He was a great eater in China – little Chipmunk, I called him. But since coming to the States, he isn’t eating well.  He’ll eat apples and bananas, sometimes rice.  He’ll eat junk food from China that we brought back, not much else.  So I broke down and bought him some PediaSure.  That he will drink!  Goodness!  We keep trying new things.  Becca went to the Asian market and bought him some bao (steamed buns).  He immediately identified it – bao, but he wouldn’t eat it.  :(  At least I know the PediaSure will keep him alive till we overcome this hurdle.

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Someone online suggested we take him out to a Chinese restaurant – as authentic as possible.  A friend recommended a place in town.  We piled into the van : Daddy, Mama, Becca, Ellie, Sammi, Jessi, Lizzy, Joy, Bella, Alex, and Kai and Kai completely lost it.  Kai cries and it’s heartbreaking.  Now, I’m a mom of six daughters.  You would think I would be used to tears, but you see I’m not a crier.  It’s just not our way.  But looking at these silent tears rolling down this sad, sad face, is heartbreaking.  So we sent Dad and the Bigs out to dinner.  The Littles had McDonald’s (they were happy!) and Dad brought us home some food.  Sounds like they found a great place!  The owner is from Anhui province (Kai’s province), the server is from Guangzhou.  They were invited to come back for Chinese New Year (and if they could help in any way – so kind).  But yet again, Kai wouldn’t eat.  So yeah for PediaSure and yeah for kind people!

Everyone says the best way for these sweet kiddos to learn English is just to pick it up – immersion.  After all of these frustrations lately, I decided to scrape it all.  No, I didn’t suddenly receive the gift of tongues (wouldn’t that be awesome!!!), instead I found the app “Sayhi.”  I like it better than Google Translator because as you speak in English, it writes what it heard in English and then says it in Mandarin.  This is amazing because sometimes you say one thing and the device interrupts it as quite another!  So I can quickly fix that!  :)

So Thursday I started using the translator app all the time.  I told him everything we were doing.  I told him what we were eating.  I told him where we were going.  And it worked!  We haven’t been able to leave the house – but Thursday we did!  We took Brother to school.  We took Sister to school.  We picked Sister up from school.  We bought Sister some shoes.  And he was happy!  Well, of course, Shelly, he knew what was going on.  But we are supposed to be English immersioning (verbing a noun)!!  But he is Blind – completely and absolutely.  How terrifying must life be for him right now?  Now if I have delayed his English acquisition, so be it.  He knows what is happening around and to him.  He is happy – so I am happy!  

BTW – he loves to push carts!

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So today the girls had three hours of therapy.  Then we had to take them to school.  Then run over to Kentucky School for the Blind to drop off some papers for him.  I translated everything – and it helped SO MUCH!  He did not like walking through the grass (uneven) at the school and he didn’t like the chime at the school when the door opens, but overall he was an angel.  And luckily, who should be in the lobby when I stopped in, but Alex’s teachers – who will become Kai’s teachers!  So I got to introduce them to him and to talk to them all about my Kai.  I’m so grateful he will get to go to school there and have these women as his teachers!

Exploring the gym at therapy while sister had PT.  He LOVED it!

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So how is Kai doing?  Well, I’d say for being here in the States for 13 days – pretty well!  We have got to solve the eating situation, but I think we’ll get there.

Kai is a brave, brave little boy – and so sweet and happy.  Love ya Kai!  Grateful I get to be your Mama and watch you tackle this world!